Creating a Lucrative Screen Printing Operation at the SGIA Expo
Screen printing can be a lucrative and rewarding business. But to set yourself up for that, you need to take several steps, according to two successful entrepreneurs. In “The Business of Screen Printing,” Brett Bowden of Printed Threads and Ryan Moor of Ryonet leaned heavily on their own experiences to offer advice to screen printers on how to grow their businesses.
The first question printers should ask themselves is “why?” When it comes to your business, “if you don’t know your ‘why’ ... find it ... your purpose, your reason for being.” This is important because “people at your core connect with why you do it,” Moor said.
From your “why,” you can then develop your vision, basically where your business is going. To help achieve that vision, though, you’ll need to figure out your values, and then base your culture - the people you hire - on those values.
Both Moor and Bowden recommended spending a significant amount of time to establish core values. “Put it on your calendar,” Moor emphasized. Whether it involves a “sticky note” exercise, or some other type of brainstorming, it needs to be done.
Another good question to ask, Moor said, is “What are those things that build relationships with your best customers?” It may not necessarily be speed or price, but what value you can add. “Someone’s always gonna be cheaper,” he said.
“Carve out your niche, and become really good at it,” Bowden urged, whether selling wholesale or retail. Also, “becoming top of your market segment helps funnel business in,” he added, even if your business began by appealing to a broad range of customers. This, in turn, opens up new opportunities for other relationships to start and develop.
For a successful operation, they advised a three-step process to adopt for your shop. First, lay out a path for every job to follow. Next, document each one in a system using charts, Google docs or other tools. Finally, they said, train your people properly.